Target:Ramón J. P. Paje, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Goal: Improve water quality for residents of the Philippines
Over 4,200 people die in the Philippines each year due to a lack of access to safe drinking water. Waterborne diseases are a huge problem in the country, where only 5% of the population is connected to a sewer network. Though the Philippines is working to improve its pollution levels, improper disposal of sewage and other waste contributes to rampant health problems in the country and a decreased quality of living for people and wildlife. As the population increases, the demand for clean water increases too. The Philippines needs to address its water quality situation before it spirals out of control.
Because the Philippines’ water quality is already a problem, it will take time, effort, and money to fix the situation. However, the adverse effects of water pollution already cost the Philippines government an estimated U.S. $67 million per year. Dealing with the water quality situation by creating more wastewater treatment facilities and providing the means for poverty-stricken communities to have flush toilets, septic systems, and water filtration devices will improve quality of life for residents of the Philippines and, in the long run, save the government money as diseases like typhoid, cholera, and dysentery decrease.
Though access to clean, uncontaminated water in the Philippines stems from a variety of causes including poor sanitation, poverty, and industrial and agricultural pollution, it doesn’t have to wreak havoc on the health and safety of the country’s people. By addressing waste disposal and providing the means for poverty-stricken areas to switch to higher-quality septic systems and sewage disposal, the country will be improving the quality of life for its people and ensuring the availability and beauty of natural resources for years to come.
Dear Secretary Paje,
Over 4,200 people die in the Philippines each year without access to safe drinking water. While the Philippines has made efforts to address poor sanitation and water quality standards, more can be done to improve quality of life for residents of the country. The adverse affects of poor water quality cost the government three billion Philippines pesos per year, most of which can be fixed by providing the resources for poverty-stricken communities to dispose of sewage safely and treat their drinking water at home.
This is an investment in the future of the country. Though providing the means for poor communities to switch from open-pit toilets to septic systems and providing filtration systems to lessen the impact of diseases like cholera will not be cheap, its impact on the health and safety of the people is priceless. As illness decreases thanks to these steps, the financial strain on the Philippines government will decrease as well.
While I applaud the efforts that have been made to punish industrial polluters with fines, more needs to be done to address the effect poor water quality has on the people. Providing septic systems, water treatment, and in-home filtration will provide far-reaching benefits not only for poor communities, but for the government’s budget, tourism, and environmental resources. Please use your role as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to push for better waste disposal and water filtration for the poor communities in the Philippines.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alexcooper1 via Wikimedia Commons